Food Friday: Chickpea and Feta Salad

This is one of my FAVORITES.

Not your normal lettuce or spinach-based salad, this salad is packed with flavor thanks to the punch and crunch of parsley and celery, set off by creamy feta cheese. It’s also quick to put together and keeps well – I like to make a big batch and take it to work for a week’s worth of lunches so I have something fresh, healthy, and satisfying on hand.

I usually stick to the recipe as written because it’s so quick, but this salad is super flexible. You can add other veggies in for a bit more color or crunch, or fill it out with additional leafy greens of your preference. My go-to additions include spinach, cucumbers, finely chopped red onion, and/or red or yellow capsicum or bell pepper. (Not a celery fan? I’m generally not either, but I actually really enjoy it in this combination.)

This salad is also packed with nutrients.

Parsley – High in vitamins A, K and C, as well as iron and other nutrients like beta-carotene and zeaxanthin, which helps protect and support eye health

Celery – Significant anti-inflammatory properties come from more than a dozen different antioxidants, as well as high levels of fiber, which is essential for a healthy digestive tract

Chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) – A great plant-based protein source, and also high in fiber, folate (vitamin B9), and minerals including copper, molybdenum, manganese, and phosphorus

Feta – Additional protein, plus calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin B12. Feta is also sodium-heavy, so if you’re on a sodium-restricted diet, use less of this – a little goes a long way!

Lemon – Even the small amount of lemon in this will give you a big dose of vitamin C

Olive oil – As well as being high in monounsaturated fats, which are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, olive oil has high levels of vitamins E and K, and numerous antioxidant and anti-inflammatory molecules

Your taste buds and your body will love it!

 

Chickpea and Feta Salad (serves 2 as a main dish)

4-5 cups of chopped parsley and celery leaves

3 large or 4 small celery stalks, chopped into 1/2 inch or 1cm pieces

1 can of chickpeas, drained

1/2 – 2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

Small wedge of lemon, for dressing

Small drizzle of olive oil, for dressing

Notes: Celery and parsley leaves have similar flavors, so you can use any amount of either. A can of chickpeas equals about 1 3/4 cups – if you want to cook your own, start with a little over a half-cup of dry chickpeas. The canned chickpeas will be a little softer, but either option works well.

Combine all ingredients, using more or less of anything as desired, and including any additional veggies you might like. Squeeze lemon wedge over salad and drizzle with olive oil right before serving.

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